9th Annual Educational Law and Social Justice Forum (2007)

[MUSIC PLAYING] I want to welcome all of
you on behalf of the Center for Educational Pluralism. My name is Lorraine Kasprisin. And this is our Ninth
Annual Educational Law and Social Justice Forum. This evening’s forum
is being co-sponsored with the Center for Law,
Diversity, and Justice at Fairhaven College. And I’d like to welcome
the director of that center right next to me,
Dr. Teri McMurtry Chubb, who will be the
co-moderator for this evening’s event. We are also co-sponsoring
the event with the American Cultural Studies Program and
the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. Tonight’s forum is
entitled Does Race Still Matter in Public Education
or in Public Schools. And it’s the
beginning of what we hope to be a new tradition
here at Woodring. Our panelists this
evening are all authors who have published articles
in the special section of the January issue
of our new journal. It’s called the Journal of
Educational Controversy. How many of you have actually
seen it on the website? Very good. For those of you who
have not yet seen it, you can go to
Woodring’s home page and just go right
down below and you’ll see a link to the Journal. The January issue
of our journal was devoted to the
questions that had been raised by Jonathan
Kozol in his latest book, The Shame of the Nation,
the Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. Jonathan was the CEP
distinguished speakers at Woodring in the fall of 2005. And he wrote a special
prologue for our journal in which he warns us
that American schools are more segregated now than
at any time since 1968. And as we were
preparing that issue, events began to overtake us. And we learned that the
United States Supreme Court was about to hear the case
of PICS versus Seattle School District. PICS stands for Parents
Involved In Community Schools. By the way, we were
expecting the Supreme Court to come down with its
decision this week. But it looks like
it may be Monday before the decision comes down. So watch your newspapers,
watch the media, and see how the case is actually
decided by the court next week. Well, as a result, we
ran a special section in the journal entitled
“Washington State Politics and the Upcoming
US Supreme Court Decision.” Tonight you’re going
to have an opportunity to hear our
panelists and also be able to read their articles
in that special section of the journal. In the prologue to our
journal, Jonathan Kozol tells the reader that
the US Supreme Court decision of this term in PICS
versus Seattle Storm District may decide with finality
the prospects for integrated education in this country. The case deals with the
question of whether race can be a factor
in the admissions policies of public high
schools in Seattle. And of course, the implications
go far beyond Seattle. Our panelists this
evening will help to provide us with a context
for understanding the issues that the Court is weighing
in the Seattle case against the background of
Washington State history and politics. I will introduce our
panelists right now, who will have between
five and seven minutes to summarize their positions. And then we’re going to
open it up to our audience to raise questions. You will be given index cards. We’re going to ask you to
write down your questions and our ushers will be
picking up your cards throughout the evening. And then Teri and I will
read those questions at the end of the
individual presentations. And I’d also like
to invite all of you afterwards to come and
join us back in CEP. That’s 250 Miller
Hall, just right there, and have some dessert with us. Join us for our reception. And you can ask
questions individually of the panel at that time. So please come and join us
after the forum is over. Maybe you could just
indicate by raising your hand so we know who you are. Douglas Judge. Douglas Judge will
be our first speaker. Doug is an MIT student
here in Woodring. And he has been the
coordinator of the CEP for the last two years. Doug will first give
us an understanding of Seattle’s past
struggle for desegregation within the history of
segregated housing patterns and restricted covenants. And by the way, his article did
an excellent piece of research. His article has an excellent
historical timeline for you to take a look at. And understanding
of that struggle gives us the historical context
for examining today’s opposing legal arguments that are now
before the Supreme Court. So our next two
speakers will give us an understanding of
these legal arguments from opposing perspectives. I’d like to welcome first Sonya
Jones from the Pacific Legal Foundation. And Brett Rubio from the
American Civil Liberties Union. Sonya Jones’ article
in our journal questions the use of
social science research in arguing
constitutional issues. While the ACLU article
questions the use of race neutral remedies as
an effective means in achieving racial
desegregation as a goal in public education. The original writer of the ACLU
position was Roberto Sanchez. And he couldn’t make
it this evening. So Brett Rubio, who is on the
ACLU Wacom County Steering Committee, has stepped
in to take his place. Thank you, Brett. Thank you. Next, we will have the
perspective of two school administrators who
offer us a personal look from the inside of
the schools that are at the heart of the decision. David Angle, who is currently
principal of Squalicum High School here in
Bellingham, was principal of Ballard High
School in Seattle at the time the original
decision came down. And David resigned his
position at Ballard as a protest against the
lower court’s decision. Bruce Bivins is currently
principal of Westside High School but was
assistant principal of Franklin High School
in Seattle at the time he wrote the article. And so he will give
us a personal account of his experience
in that school. And we have a very
special viewpoint that was actually missing
in our original journal. We didn’t have a
student perspective. Rachel– [INAUDIBLE]. Bjarnason. Bjarnason. OK. Rachel Bjarnason
was a student who was bussed from Ballard
to Frankfurt High School and who is currently a
student here at Western. And so Rachel will share with
us her experience as a student. And finally, we have some
very unique perspectives from the viewpoint of
various community groups in Washington State
whose children are at the center
of the controversy and whose lives will be impacted
by the Court’s decision. Dr. Thelma Jackson is the
president Foresight Consultants in Olympia and one
of the founders of the African-American
Think Tank. Dr. Jackson has become
a very powerful voice for communities of
color who are concerned for the lives of their children
in the schools of Washington State. And we are also
very pleased to have Dr. Andrew Griffin, the
assistant superintendent of the Office of Superintendent
of Public Instruction, better known to
all of us as OSPI, who has been a very strong
voice for the children who often have no voice. As part of his community
outreach efforts, Dr. Griffin created
the multi-ethnic think tanks that brought
the concerns of parents and communities of color to
the attention of the state. Our journal, by the way, has
published all the position papers of the
multi-ethnic think tank in our January issue
of the journal. So let me once again welcome all
of our panelists this evening. To begin, Douglas Judge is going
to provide us with context. So, welcome, first
of all, to everybody. Folks came from Olympia,
Seattle, far away, up I-5. Thank you for the early
departures in Tacoma and Everett and all of that. Thank you all for coming. So I just want to– I’m going to be
brief because I’m excited to hear what
these folks have to say. But I thought it would
be important to provide some context– I’m not going to get into
the legalities so much. But I want to– for of us that are
unfamiliar with Seattle, it’s a very complex racial city. The housing patterns
are very interesting. And I think that I’m going
to give a quick overview so that when we hear where is all
Ballard High School, what’s all the fuss about? Why do you care, who lives
where, and that kind of thing. We have some folks
from the schools here. And I’m going to put up
some information that’s going to help you
just kind of get the gist of what’s going on. I’m talking about three things. One, some racial and
demographic trends. Secondly, I’m going
to talk about how the school district has– what the school
district had done to try to address these issues
of ongoing residential and school segregation. And lastly, I’ll just
mention a few implications for students in Seattle
public schools today. We’re going to start here. Is everybody familiar
with Seattle, even from way far away,
wondering where Seattle is. It’s down the freeway
an hour and a half. There’s just over half a
million people in Seattle. 70% of Seattle’s
population is white– and this is important,
we’ll talk about it in a little bit– compared to
the state of Washington which is about 82%, making
Seattle the most diverse big city in the state. Seattle is bisected
roughly in half by the Ship Canal which
is a waterway that runs from Lake Washington to the
East, kind of under the UDubb and through Lake Union, past
Ballard, and out to the ocean. That’s important because some
have referred to the Ship Canal as Washington’s
Mason-Dixon Line. You’re familiar with that. So, essentially, North of
the Ship Canal, Seattle, historically and
to this day, still houses the majority of
the white population. South of the Ship Canal is where
communities of color reside. Seattle is changing. The influx of big tech money in
the last decade and Washington State Growth
Management Act, which has kind of concentrated new
building and existing areas, they’ve combined to drive up
the cost of living in Seattle. The median home price last year
was just under half a million dollars. This is what we’re
talking about here. North Seattle, this is
the Ship Canal here. The red line there
is the Ship Canal. So Ballard’s right up in
here in North Seattle. And we’ve got the
Central District here, it historically houses Seattle’s
African-American community. Beacon Hill and the Rainier
Valley, even to this day, are Seattle’s most
diverse neighborhoods. Like I said, gentrification
is impacting Seattle. Seattle’s changing. I grew up in Renton. And even my brief life here
has changed quite a bit. The impact of
gentrification of Seattle is generally moving, pushing
people of color South. And so the Southern suburbs
of Kent and Federal Way and Auburn and
Burien and Renton are having exponential growth
in Spanish speaking people of color. Seattle, though, still remains
a highly segregated city. Sociologists use a term
called the dissimilarity index where they take a look
at the demographic of a city as a whole. And then they look at
particular neighborhoods. And they calculate
how many people would have to move in or
out of the neighborhood to have the racial makeup
of that neighborhood match the city as a whole. So for cities of its size, it’s
the third most segregated city in the whole country. It’s right below
Atlanta, Georgia. Blew me away. This segregation in
Seattle is not new. It has a long history,
often untalked about. But the kind of
myth about Seattle is that it is somehow immune
from the racial strife that struck cities in other parts
of the country, in the North and in the East
and in the South. But Seattle has its own history
of both private and public policy segregation concerns. These took the form of privately
restricted housing covenants. These were made illegal in 1963
with passing the Fair Housing Act. But Green Light, Luarelhurst,
Broadmoor, Queen Anne, Ballard all having these very
explicit restrictive history covenants. And these were not
unique to Seattle. This is all across the country. But this again struck me. Once you get outside
of Seattle, you get into Shoreline,
Bellevue, or other suburbs, you see there’s a
record of these. University of Washington has
a really amazing collection of these. Prominent hospitals, famous
hospitals, research hospitals, Providence, Swedish, they all
had restrictive covenants too. They probably have
documents that say, we do not serve people
of the negroid race at Swedish Hospital. A lot of these institutions
have since, you know, they’re not proud of it. But there is a history here. Cross burnings in the U
District, I’m like what? What are you talking about? I didn’t know about that. This was a mixed race
couple who intended to move into University District. And a burning cross was,
1958, in their front yard. 1941, am African-American
family attempted to move into a North
King County home. A dynamite bomb was
thrown into their house. To me, this was
a cognitive flip. I don’t associate
Seattle with bombing. So that just kind
of blew me away. Since Seattle does not
have a real visible place of urban plight, it lacks
kind of the deterioration that you see in Detroit,
Chicago, East St Louis, New York City, and so that
has led to this creation of this popular
concept that there is no racial problem in Seattle. And physically
and also socially, this has big consequences. So the school
district, how it has– the Seattle public schools– attempted to address this kind
of ongoing segregation given that the context
there is there’s no racial problem in Seattle. So, Seattle’s [INAUDIBLE]
school district– they were the first large
city in America to implement desegregation without
a court order. And it’s something that
they’re very proud of. You hear a lot about it. So following
[INAUDIBLE],, in 1954 the Brown versus Board
ruling forced desegregation. Separate but equal
is no longer equal. So school districts
all across the country were forced through a court
order, the federal courts implemented– everything from the
Little Rock Nine where the National
Guard was down escorting students in the schools. Seattle didn’t do t that. But it is somewhat of a
myth because in looking at what happened from the
early ’60s up until even today in Seattle, it’s a
much more complicated story. In virtually every case,
Seattle school district only implemented desegregation
plans after a massive community mobilization by the
pro-integration civil rights community. So it was fairly reactionary. And then immediately following
such policy implementation, voter initiatives and
lawsuits– which in some cases happened as soon as four
weeks after the district implemented a
desegregation plan– there was an immediate
anti-busing initiative. And the first
couple of these were very overwhelming majorities
that were in favor of busing. Following the Brown decision,
the Seattle school district started demographic information
on the race in their schools. And not surprisingly, it maps
that the schools are just as segregated as the
neighborhoods were. They were very slow to react. And it wasn’t until 1977
until they implemented this mandatory program. They tried of a
voluntary programs that had very little impact. Through the ’70s,
’80s, and ’90s, it’s been this back
and forth where the district will make
a slight modification to their integration policy. Sometimes more serious
than slight, but always that back and forth where they
only do it after pressure. And merely following
the policy, there’s a backlash with a voter
initiative or a lawsuit. So that’s bringing us
right up to the present before the Supreme
Court, in 1998 Seattle implemented the open enrollment
policy were it basically meant– folks, and
feel free to correct me if I miss this– but any student
in Seattle public high school can go to any school. But once the school
reaches capacity, they have to make a decision
on who gets in where. And one of those factors
up until this court case was race, where if you
were a– say you were a student from the
South end and you wanted to go to Ballard High School,
you were given priority over a white student. If that student lived
right across from Ballard or in the neighborhood or who
had a sibling who went there, you got priority. They called it the
racial tiebreaker. And that was 1998 when
the racial tiebreaker was approved by the district. On the same exact day, the state
initiative I200 was passed, same day, which made the
use of race in hiring, state contracting in higher
education illegal in Washington state, which set in
motion a in lawsuit in 2000 by Parents Involved
in Community Schools. And Sonya knows this
case back and forth. But basically a group
of white parents sued the district because their
kids didn’t get into Ballard. And they basically said
the district policy was in violation of state law. That case in 2002, the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Parents Involved
in Community Schools and actually overturned
the district’s use of race. That ruling was
overturned in 2005 by a larger, 11-judge
panel of the Ninth Circuit. And the appeal of that rules
is what the US Supreme Court is kind of wrestling with. So what has this
meant for students in Seattle public schools? Four things I’m
going to mention. First of all, this is a map
which shows the enrollment from the late ’60s
up until 2002, the most recent data available. The blue line is
total enrollment. And right below that,
there’s a red line that shows the white enrollment
in Seattle public schools. Drastic decline beginning
in the late ’60s. And as you can see there,
there is a green line on the bottom which is students
of color, gradual increase. And to this day,
whites, like I said, 70% of people in city
of Seattle are white, but whites only make up 40%
of the students in the Seattle public schools. Some have called
this white plight. Where those kids going? Seattle also has
one of the highest rates of private school
enrollment of city in the country. For the last 20 years,
between 25% and 30% of the white kids who live in
Seattle attend private school. For those students who choose to
stay in Seattle public schools, is the Mason-Dixon line
of Seattle still relevant? Looking at the most recent
data available by the school district, about 56% of students
North of the Ship Canal are white. And South of the Ship
Canal, about 30% of students are white. And this includes
magnet schools. The district tried to
create these magnet schools between the
gifted program at Garfield and some schools that– the center schools in
the middle of Seattle that were meant to try to
bring white students back into the district. And so there’s
some schools– that was an alternative high school
that tweaked the figures. So 30% is a little
bit misleading. The Seattle southernmost
high schools– Rainier Beach down
in Rainier Valley, Cleveland High School
right next to I-5, and Franklin High School– Franklin High School, 90%
are students of color. Cleveland, 92% are
students of color. And Rainier Beach, 94%. So that 56-30 split is
a little misleading. Seattle still remains a
highly segregated school. Finally, money matters, I
think, is the last part. I did a little
comparison comparing– because of the case here– looking at Ballard High
School and Franklin High School, both large high
schools in Seattle. Like I said,
Ballard is up North. Franklin is right in
the central district. In the last 10 years the
Franklin Alumni Association has raised $170,000
to scholarships assisting students. In the year 2006 alone–
the ’05, ’06 year alone– the Ballard Alumni Association
raised the same amount of money in one year
as the Franklin Alumni raised in 10 years. And that doesn’t
include $250,000 that was raised the previous
year in a six month capital campaign to build a new
greenhouse at Ballard High School. Although money
isn’t the end all, be all in attaining
educational equity. It kind of, I think, helps
paint a little picture of why– what’s all the fuss about trying
to get up [INAUDIBLE] Ballard High School. How are you all tonight? Good. My name is Sonya Jones. And I’m with the Pacific
Legal Foundation. I’m an attorney. And as you can
tell by the accent, I’m not from around these parts. I am from Lubbock, Texas,
which is way out in West Texas. Don’t even ask me about
the racial composition of my undergrad university. That is all ranching,
cattle, cotton, oil. That’s all it is out there. So that ought to tell
you something about it. I actually grew up in Dallas. And spent about 10 years
of that time in Houston. So I do come from big city
background despite the accent. This case became of
particular interest to me when I was
actually in law school. And I was fortunate enough to
be able to publish some articles on this case during that time. Because when I
was in law school, Clarence Thomas came and spoke
to my first year law school class. And he was a dissenting opinion
in a previous case involving racial balancing that involved
the University of Michigan. There were actually
two cases consolidated in front of the Supreme Court. One is given the
quick name Gratz. The other one is Grutter. It was the dean of
the undergrad college that was being challenged,
and then the dean of the law school. What happened in
those cases, it’s important to understand
this because it will set the legal framework
for the understanding in both the PICS case and it’s also
got a companion case out of Louisville, which
I also wrote about and didn’t know we weren’t
going to talk about it. Because, to me, that’s
more interesting case. But I’m fine. I can do this. I can improvise. I’m a big girl. So what happened in the
Grutter and Gratz cases is that Gratz had to do with the
undergrad admissions program. And Michigan, being
a fairly prestigious undergrad institution
and definitely a prestigious law school– several of my colleagues
graduated from there they remind me of
that all the time. In the undergrad
institution, automatically if you denoted on your
undergrad application that you were of a
racial minority– and only certain
minorities qualified, mind you, not Asian, not
Russian, not Italian, not Spanish– but only if you were of Hispanic
as in Mexican-American descent or of American-American
descent, you automatically got 20 points added
to your overall score. But none of those
other races did. And the Supreme Court said, no. You cannot do that. I’ll get back to why
in just a second. In the law school, the Supreme
Court had a different decision. The law school looked
at multiple factors. And ultimately,
Supreme Court said, graduate school is a
little bit different. You do have a
compelling interest in creating diversity in a
graduate learning environment. But the graduate school,
being the law school, looked at a whole lot more
things other than race. Socioeconomic
backgrounds, if you grew up on the wrong side of
the tracks but were still white, you got more points. And if you were the
first generation to go to graduate
school, the first generation to go to college– I’ll have I was both and I
have 37 first cousins who grew up poor, white, on a farm. But I wouldn’t have
gotten any points. Because had I applied in
Michigan, no points for me for undergrad. But in law school, I would have. But I didn’t get in there. Don’t worry about it. So what happened was
the Supreme Court said, you know, as long
as you’re balancing all of these other
things, you’re truly going about achieving some
sort of background diversity by a race-neutral means. Because you’re awarding
points not only based on race but also on other
factors that diversify the educational experience
for all of your students. Brown v Board of Education
back in 1954, they said, you cannot admit or deny
admittance to compulsory education based on race, period. And a lot of people– I’ve been doing a whole
lot of media on this case already leading up
to the decision. We really thought it
was coming out Monday. I was up all night. I wouldn’t do that otherwise. I’m not in college anymore. I’m a little older. I’ve been doing a whole
lot of media on this. And the question that comes
up over and over again is if the Court decides in your
favor– being PLF’s favor, my favor– that this is unconstitutional in
both instances, of they decide in your favor, how
do you reconcile that with Brown v Board of Education? Brown v Board of Education
supports citing in our favor. They said you can’t– de jure segregation
is unconstitutional, meaning any law, any state
action that forces segregation, forces decisions based on race
alone is unconstitutional. Whereas de facto
segregation, i.e. you live in an all
Asian neighborhood, of Asian mixed, Asian descent,
Japanese, Korean, Chinese, that’s the area you live in
and that high school happens to be 90%, that’s not
de jure segregation. That’s de facto segregation. That just happens because of the
breakdowns of the neighborhood. And that’s OK. And that’s what Brown v
Board of Education said. And that’s what’s
happening in this case. Now what has never been
challenged since then is the reverse happening,
which is what’s happening here. But I need to clarify two things
that were brought up by Doug. One, the PICS, the Parents
Involved in Community Schools was not all white parents. Because this works two ways. There are also students of one
minority or another– mind you, Seattle said white
and non-white. There was no further breakdown. It was if you’re a
full blooded like me or 70% of the rest of the
population is non-white. I mean, I think 60-40
is the overall breakdown of the actual school district. But it’s white and nonwhite. And there’s no further
distinction made. So the parents involved
in Community Schools are not all white parents. Because it did work both ways. There were minorities attempting
to go to the school that’s closest to home that were
denied admittance as well, or would have been had the
plan continued to be in place. So this is what brought the
Seattle decision into place. Each school has to maintain–
it cannot go outside 15% of the 40-60 breakdown
of the entire district. So if the school is 25 and 75
and that next student is going to throw that off, further
away from the 40-60 margin, then that student cannot go. That was the second
factor in the tiebreaker, as Doug mentioned. The first factor in
the tiebreaker is is that they had an
older sibling that already attended that school,
obviously it makes sense. Other than that, sorry. You may have to go to one all
the way across town, which adds two hours to your school day. You cannot go to school
with the students that live in your neighborhood. You cannot interact with
people from your neighborhood. You’re going to have to
go to a different school. And this is where
the social science comes in in this
decision, which we claim– PLF– is irrelevant. The standard for judicial
review in any case involving the 14th Amendment, which is
any state action based on race is strict scrutiny,
what that test says– because most of you are
probably not law students. And I was [INAUDIBLE] even after
law school about this test. Strict scrutiny says, one, the
test involved under the state action– the state action itself
must be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling
state interest. So what’s being challenged
in the Seattle case in front of the Supreme
Court is whether or not there is truly a
compelling interest in providing a diversified
educational experience for kindergartners. Because this applies K through
12, as it stands right now. Or even in high school, is there
truly a compelling interest? There might be in state
sponsored graduate school education, state sponsored
college education. But when you’re talking about
second, third, fourth and fifth graders who can’t go to
school with the kids they play with in the afternoons and
they’re missing their afternoon play time because they’re
on a bus getting home, is that truly in the best
interest of that child? So that’s what we’re
arguing in that case. This is, one, it’s not a
compelling state interest. And if your interest is truly to
achieve some sort of diversity, true diversity, then
why are your two categories white and nonwhite? You’ve got to break it down
further than that if you’re truly going to
represent the population and provide a more
diversified background. Not only that, it can’t be
based only on various 18 races that are in the Seattle– Ukrainians, Koreans,
Japanese, Chinese. You can’t even just
break it down on race. You’ve got to go to
socioeconomic background. Are you a hick from Texas? Maybe that ought to count. Like me. You’ve got to start
looking at other things. If diversity in
educational experience is truly your
background, race is not the only means to achieve it. And as a matter
of fact, if that’s the only thing you’re
using to achieve it, it flied in the face of
Brown v Board of Education, it’s unconstitutional. It can’t stand here. That’s what we’re arguing. And that’s the decision
we expect next Monday. So, I look forward to
talking to all of you. And I’ll sit down now and
let everybody else contradict what I– this is a
heavily weighted panel on the other side. I look forward to it. This is still no scarier than
a courtroom, I promise you. So I thank you so
much for having us. Thank you so much for
publishing the article. I will give this credit
to my university. They did, especially
in law school, they wanted to hear all
sides of everything. And I was responsible for
bringing a lot of those debates to my law school under the
gaps of the Federalist Society. But the open debate
and decorum and being able to talk about
both of these things is what the educational
process is truly about. So I applaud you in
your efforts to do that. And thank all of
you for being here. Can everybody hear me out there? OK. Good. I’m just going to talk. I don’t like microphones. First I want to say thank
you to of the Center for Educational Pluralism
for inviting me here. I’m honored to be here. Again, my name is Brett Rubio. And I am a member of
the Wacom County ACLU. I also happen to be
a graduate student here in the political
science department. So I’m glad to be here. Tonight, I’d like to
specifically discuss the amicus curiae brief that was
submitted to the Supreme Court by the ACLU on this case. Now, many of you might
know that an amicus curiae brief, a friend of
the court brief, is a legal brief that
is basically submitted by a non-party to the lawsuit. And usually it’s
submitted because there is a strong interest,
to that non-party, in that subject matter. In this case, the
ACLU submitted a brief in support of the school
district, the respondent. And the brief pretty
addresses a specific question. And the question
which it addressed is whether or not
race-neutral alternatives to race-conscious
school assignment sufficiently remedied racial
segregation in public schools. Now the petitioner
PICS, they’re basically arguing that it can
be achieved through race-neutral alternatives. They cite two specific
race-neutral alternatives. One is using
socioeconomic status to assign students to
a variety of schools. And the second one is the
magnet school program, creating magnet schools
in basically minority neighborhoods in order to
create voluntary integration. The ACLU challenges
this position simply because there is no evidence
to support any of that. And the ACLU relies on a
Department of Education report that basically looked at
race-neutral alternatives and how they were used alone. And in that report,
they pretty much stated that only
marginal benefit came out of creating basically
an integration or breakdown of the
racial isolation through race-neutral
alternatives. And in that report, there
were five school districts that the Department of
Education looked at. And in those five
school districts, they basically employed
socioeconomic status as basically a way to assign
students to different schools. What they discovered
was basically that those policies weren’t
very effective in ending racial segregation of
K through 12 education. In fact, where
isolation had already existed in some
of those schools, it actually exacerbated
the racial isolation. Likewise, that same report
looked at magnet school creation through a federal
program called Magnet School Assistance Program. That report showed
that, at best, individual schools
that were targeted only received mixed results. And when that certain fund
was used in the entire school district, the results were
even far more limited. So therefore, in the
evidence of that report, the ACLU took a
position that that wasn’t enough to break
down segregation. And therefore, schools
should be allowed or it should be permitted to use
race as one of several factors when deciding when and how
to integrate schools in order to reduce minority isolation. That’s exactly what the
Seattle district program did. They used race as
one of the factors. Now before I get into
race-neutral alternatives, it’s important that we
look at how the use of race was used in the Seattle
case and whether or not it was used constitutionally. And as Sonya has pointed out,
under these circumstance, whenever you use
race in education– specifically higher
education– it does merit a strict
scrutiny analysis. And what it means is,
as Sonya pointed out, is that the Supreme
Court has expressly stated that in to
use race, you have to have a compelling
governmental interest, first, and that the use of race
is narrowly tailored. Well, contrary to
Sonya’s position, I believe that
everyone here would agree that using race
or supporting diversity in schools, in fact, should
be a governmental compelling interest. And in fact, the Supreme Court
stated in Brown versus Board of Education– and more recently
in Grutter v Bollinger case in 2003– that there is a
governmental interest to support diversity in
schools in order to promote, quote, sociological
and democratic values. And so the remaining
question then is whether or not the use of
race by Seattle school district was narrowly tailored. The ACLU said that
it is narrowly tailored for the
following three reasons. First, Seattle
school district is going to look at the
choice of the student before they look
at anything else. That’s the first thing. Whenever they can’t assign
that students to a school because it’s oversubscribed,
the second thing they’re going to look at whether or not– they’re going to look
at family connection, whether or not that
student has a brother or sister in that school. They’re going to give
preference to that. The third thing they’re
going to look at is the proximity of the
school to the student. Their preference
is usually given to schools that are closer
to the student in that case. Now, once all those
factors are looked at and a student is
still denied, that’s when they’re going
to look at race. They’re going to look at
it only in the prospective to decide a tiebreaker. And then, if you are denied
your choice of school, it’s important to point out
that there is an appeal process. In that appeal
process, if the student can show that there is
some sort of hardship, that the school board will
take that into consideration in order to assign the
student the proper school. And so in my opinion, this is
a very narrowly tailored use of race. One that I think
is constitutional because, again,
race is being used here only as a last resort. So the thrust of
the ACLU’s brief is that relying on
race-neutral alternatives alone, such as economic status
and magnet school programs, has a limited impact
on integrating racially isolated schools. Regarding socioeconomic
status, the Department of Education, the report
that was presented by the Department
of Education, they cited Richard Kahlenburg as
one of the leading experts on the issue of
socioeconomic diversity. And he stated in that report,
class socioeconomic status should be a supplement to rather
than a replacement for race. And by using
socioeconomic status as a substitute for race, it has
achieved only in limited impact on integrating schools. Now, this is the
same problem that exists with magnet schools. Magnet school programs have
not achieved the same level of racial integration
that school districts are plainly entitled to see. There has been some modest
successes in some cases where magnet schools
have shown some benefits. But like socioeconomic
status, it provide only partial and
insufficient approach to achieving integration. And so therefore, again, this is
why the school district should be allowed to use
race as one factor out of many to look at how
they’re going to best address racial isolation. In 1968 there was
a Supreme Court that was called
Green versus School Board of New Kent County. And in that case,
the Supreme Court stated that there is
no universal answer to the complex problems
of desegregation. There is obviously
no one plan that will do the job in every case. So in conclusion, I could
spend a long time reporting on the statistics on
racial isolation in K through 12 education and its
negative impact on students. But instead, I’ll leave you
with just these statistics. In a report that
came out last year– and I have it here if you’d
like to look at it afterwards– it found that
nationally over one third of African-American
and Latino students attended intensely
segregated minority schools where 90% or more of the
student body is minority. Over one in six
African-American students attended what are called
apartheid schools, which are schools with 99%
or more minority enrollment. And this is also
true for one in ten out of every Latino student. While socioeconomic status based
assignments in magnet school programs do provide
some benefit alone, they do not serve
as a sufficient means to break down
racial isolation in K through 12 schools. And then so therefore
the ACLU’s position is that the state, and
especially school boards, should be allowed
the flexibility to craft programs that
address racial isolation. And so that is what
the ACLU is submitting in their amicus curiae brief. And, like Sonya, we’re waiting
for the Supreme Court’s response. Thank you very much. Hi there. You guys having fun? Well, it’s really a poor
draw on my part to come out after two professional arguers. And they’re really good. And I appreciate both
of them presenting to give us the legal
contents for this case. I’m going to play the
background card, too. I come from a family
of 28 cousins. I didn’t know there was
anybody as our parents. But there were. [INAUDIBLE] I’m a high school principal. I’ve been a high school
principal for a long time. I’m close to the oldest
person in this room. But I’m standing on my age. I’m just saying I’ve been
around long enough to see the arc of time. And I want to start
by just talking about how I see this issue. The question was, does race
matter in public education. And I have to tell
you, I’ve lived and experience about how race
has been an ongoing narrative or narrative of struggle
in the United States, both in terms of my
personal experience growing up in a country
divided, but also experiencing the attempts of this
country to remedy that. And I believe that there
has been a long developing public consensus about the
need to create an integrated society. And I think that perspective,
as we look around the world, has value in lots of ways. So part of the conversation
has to be a larger conversation because Brown and all
of the legal decisions you’re hearing
about are attempts to remedy what is a larger
social issue of concern to all of us. And it’s been, as I said,
a long journey historically to look for racial justice. I have kind of taking
the long view of this, that there are going to
be setbacks along the way. There are going to be
reorientations and calibrations of what the legal systems
says is the right thing, was Congress acts on, what are
government kind of tries to mediate for us. But in the end, I think
the pressure of people to realize Martin Luther King’s
dream of, in the long run, over time, justice will prevail. That’s at work here,
in this debate. And I want us to remember that. So what does that have to
do with being a high school principal? Well, for one, thing I
have a confession to make. I did it. I moved that weight list, and
I used race as a tiebreaker. I encouraged the
district to do it. I was proud of it. And I am today. I told a reporter
from the Seattle Times that I’m an
unrepentant activist. I have no activist remorse. And I’ll tell you why. Because I had the pleasure and
the joy of working at Ballard High School, which
previous to my taking over there at that
school in 2000, had been kind of not at the
top of the list of schools, destinations of preference in
the Seattle public schools. However, when the
school is remodeled, and what remodeling
Ballard High School meant was knock it down completely,
use one brick as a cornerstone, and build a new school. Because it was in
terrible shape. It was a school that
was not a popular site. And we turned into an
academic destination and created so
much demand that we were at capacity within the
second year of it being opened. And it was a school that was
said to have capacity of 1,600. It never had less than
1,700 when I was there. And that was why
we had a wait list, I think, because we
had great programs. And I’ll talk a little bit about
how that’s a larger issue, too. Because I think
really what generates most of the heat
in this situation is the failure of
us K12 educators to provide a quality
educational resource for every kid in the city. And I know Bruce will talk to
that when he gets a chance. But that’s, in many ways, a
larger, more difficult issue, is how do we provide quality
educational resources for everyone. Because there is, in my
view, a shortage of that. So I’ve talked a little bit
about the larger picture here but I want to talk a
little bit in the time that’s remaining what it was like to
be in the middle of this exhibit A. And if you look at the court
case, that’s what pushed me to being a compliant school
administrator to being someone on the sidewalk taking up the
cause, which was for me kind of a wrenching personal shift. And it’s helped
me grow up a lot. Because I was kind of
comfortable in my privilege. And when I had to get outside
of it, all of my perspectives shifted. And I think that was
very helpful for me. What I wanted to say
about the wait list was what drove me to
be really an advocate to create a diverse student
body was what my kids told me at my school. And so a lot of information for
me was what students told me in that moment at that
school in the learning lives they were leading. So I believe that diverse
student populations are compelling, educational,
and state interest. Because they do remedy,
in the long run, kind of the tri-national
issues that I just talked about in terms
of the big picture? Can I prove it? I think I can from the data
I had at Ballard High School. And I think people are beginning
to work on that, looking at is there benefit here
and is it long term. But what my kids
told me repeatedly was, we like do we go to
school with, it matters. And even the kids that were
doing the long bus ride– and by the way, none of them
took more than two hours, that went to my school. They found ways in
faster than that. They’re pretty intrepid
people, high schoolers are, especially if
sleep’s important. So what I learned from them
was, we like who we are. We don’t want that to change. We want more of it. They looked around the world and
said, this is important still. And the other thing that
changed my perspective is the white community
in Ballard said, it benefits our kids
more than it does anybody else that comes here. And that, for me, was
kind of an inversion of social activism in place. And that’s an interesting idea. And even the kids that kind
of disagreed with the stand I took because they
wanted me to [INAUDIBLE] felt that that, in fact, was
the true repository of benefit to them, to be able to
be in contact with kids around the city that
were different than them and to feel like they were
creating a larger community than just the neighborhood. Which interestingly
enough, you need to know, Ballard High School was
never the neighborhood school for Magnolia-Queen
Anne parents back in the day before the remodel. Never. And so it’s kind of a
new found preference. And I think that has
a lot to say about how privilege works in communities. But we’re not talking
about privilege here. We’re talking about race. So who benefits
from integration? I just talked about
how I think it was the mainstream, the
majority population at Ballard. But I think that also
the larger community did. And I think, for
me, the benefit– and I will allow the legal
issues to ebb and flow how they will– was that
my acting out the way I did so late in life helped
sponsor a community conversation about the
part race has to play in our lives and our community. And for me it was interesting to
tear off the veil of politeness that lays over Seattle. And you kind of talked
a little bit about that. And it opened up some
pretty raw spots. But it also created
an arena where we could start talking about
this in different ways. You need to know that I
sacrificed a lot for the cause in terms of rubber
chicken circuit. Bruce knows this about me. I’m not a joiner of clubs. But I went out and
spoke to Kiwanis clubs, every Rotary Club in town,
Lions, every kind of service group in town to
take the message and get the conversation going. And I literally went out
to hundreds of communities. And it was very
interesting about, for me, how the
community really wanted to talk about this issue. And believe me, most of those
people do not agree with me. But it was helpful for
them to have a chance to put things out on
the table and have an honest conversation. The most surprising thing
for all of those groups was some white middle
class dude did this. And they said, we would have
expected some other principal in Seattle to have stood
up, a principal of color that said, stop, no more. The real value of
me doing that was that it surprised people
and kind of shocked them out of their comfort zone. So if I served any
good purpose, I think in that sense it was
worth it to the community. And I’m happy that I could
provide something late in life of value for the community
around this larger topic which is a part of our
historical narrative. And it’s still alive and it’s
still awaiting resolution. I don’t think this court
case is going to finish it. Because this will create a
whole set of new problems and unintended consequences. So regardless of what you hear
your next Monday, hang on. That’s all I have to say. Thank you. Well, let me get on
to the ripple effect of unintended consequences. Because what I see in
any policy in education is that the policy has
a trickle down effect. So in high school, if you have
a choice, in a big district, now you have a
competitive model. When there’s choice,
there’s competition. You want people to
choose your program, your school, your teachers. Now we’re competing
over resources. We’re competing over kids. We’re competing over
programs, over partnerships. Can you not hear me in the back? Thank you. [INAUDIBLE] Sure. I can try. So this era of
competition creates– what we have is you have
underenrolled schools and overenrolled schools. So when I look at a scatterplot
in Seattle school district, I notice that actually
the student population is pretty evenly distributed. There’s about an average of
about 1,200 or 1,300 students around every high school in the
district, in the 10 schools. But what you have is you
have Ballard and Roosevelt on the North end that have 400
to 500 students on a waiting list. And you have Rainier Beach
and Cleveland and Chief Sealth that have underenrollment,
which means that you’re always fighting for a budget
model to be able just to keep a program, some
teachers, these resources. So for me, the issue
is not about race. It’s about equity. It’s about creating a a quality
school with equal resources and experiences teachers with
curriculum, with partnerships, and a level playing
field with equal kids so that you have a parent
body to be able to choose from to be able to harness those
individuals for booster club, for community support, for
all the other things that you ask your parent body to be
involved in your school. If I only have 350
students versus 1,500, of course I’m going to have a
bigger booster club, of course I’m going to have
more parents involved. So the trickle down effect
at Franklin High School over the five years
that I’ve seen is with this massive enrollment
of 10 different middle schools coming into one high
school is that you can’t have an alignment of program. I don’t know what school
to align with for programs. I have students coming
from every middle school. I have a retention rate. Across the district, retention
rates are ridiculous. We’re losing 20% of
our students because of the competitive model
because they have the option to choose another
school at semester, at the end of the year. And we allow that to occur. So you now have, you’re
losing one out of five of your students every year. You have these short term,
transient, superficial relationships that are forming
in a system of learning, of education that needs
to be deeply personalized. And we are not there. And what I’ve noticed that
when I was at Franklin was these formations
of superficial cliques based on these
transitory relationships. So people found comfort based
on race and ethnic background. And we didn’t get into
the deep conversation of who you really are, what is
your story, where you’re from. Maybe if you had more of an
alignment of the K12 system where I came in as
a kindergartener, I knew I was going
to graduate as Quaker or a Beaver or a
Garfield Bulldog, that I knew that these
kids that I’m growing up were going to be
lifelong relationships, maybe that’s what
really matters. It’s not about the
complexion of person next to. But it’s about the
diversity of thought. It’s about the relationship. It’s about creating a community. So not only am I pulling in from
10 different middle schools, but then I have a mass
exodus after school. So I don’t have
extracurricular activities that are fully funded
or fully enrolled. I can barely get a JD squad
together for an athletic team. I can’t get the clubs going. So you just see after
school at 2:30, it’s quiet. There’s not a lot going on. So you’re not
building a culture. And as we all know in school,
a culture is larger than self. It’s bigger than self. So if I can’t build a culture,
if my culture is constantly shifting and
transient, then I can’t build a culture of
quality education because my people
are always changing. So the targets are
always changing. And the person in front
of me is always changing. So I would say some other
unintended consequences that you can see
in all the data is you have higher
truancy rates, higher placements in special ed. You have higher dropout rates,
higher discipline rates because of these superficialities. We’re not really
understanding who we are and continuing to perpetuate
the cycle of business. And I think for
public schools, we need to create a system that
allows for neighborhoods, for people to create a
neighborhood community again. And we need to focus on
creating quality schools in those neighborhoods. I think the impetus
factor was the fact that those schools in the
North end had more resources. So I want my kids to
go to those schools, versus those schools in my
neighborhood, in the South end, is of equal choice
and opportunity. So if you can’t
create a school system where you have equal
opportunity then, of course, you’re going to fight for your
student to get a better school. And if I have to
use race as a factor to fight to get
into that school, that I will do
everything in my power to make sure that my student
gets a quality education. So I think that’s where
we’re at right now. And I think we’ve got
a big job ahead of us. And I honor everybody here. I think we’re all here
for the same purpose. We all want quality
education for kids. And I think we’re all coming at
it from different perspectives and that’s a beautiful
thing about spokes on a wheel on the issues. We’ve all got windows. We all look at things different. And perception is real. So thank you for
being here and I appreciate you taking the time. Can people hear me? I am not an educator
or legal profession or anything like that. I’m a student. And I’m here to speak from a
student’s perspective being involved in this issue. [INAUDIBLE] I grew up in Queen Anne Hill. If you guys are
familiar with Seattle, you’re probably familiar
with Queen Anne Hill. It’s a nice, white neighborhood. You can have a
white picket fence. And I started the school in
kindergarten and first grade at Coe Elementary School on
the top of Queen Anne Hill. And then, after
the first grade, I don’t know exactly
how the decision was made, if it was just an
involvement with my parents or a bigger legal picture, but I
started busing to South Seattle to Hawthorne Elementary. And I had– a believe
it was a 40 minute bus ride out to Hawthorne
Elementary School. And I remember in
first grade, you know, the decision to
start busing and kind of the discussion
of diversity started happening at that point. We’re going to go to
this other school. It should be more diverse. We started learning
about Martin Luther King. And at this point in my
life, I hadn’t really given these issues much thought. And I remember looking around
the classroom and thinking, I wonder who in here is black. I had no idea. And I think that’s kind of
like the naive perspective that children had. And when I started at
Hawthorne, I pretty quickly saw the difference between white
students and black students. And it just pointed
out later in life, I think I figured out,
that meant weren’t any black students at
my elementary school. There really wasn’t
any ethnic diversity. One thing that my parents
did when I started busing– I think they were really
concerned with the issue of me not being in my neighborhood and
after school sports or programs like that– is they
contacted other parents in our neighborhood
who were also busing their kids to the South end. And so I never really felt like
I didn’t have that neighborhood connection because the
kids I knew at my school were a large percentage of them. Or not a large percentage, but
the people that I knew actually were in my neighborhood. I ended up hanging out with
my neighborhood kids anyway, even though we went to
school 40 minutes away. And then for middle
school, I actually came back to Queen Anne. And I attended
McClure Middle School. And then for high school, I
started high school in 1996. I was bused out to
Franklin High School which is in the same
neighborhood as Hawthorne. And at the time
it was probably– it sounds like it still is one
of the most diverse schools in the nation. And you could definitely tell. And I think the
perspective that– or one perspective that I
got being a student there– is the unique perspective
being a white middle class person in the United
States– is I was an ethnic minority growing up. I was a white minority. And I think it’s a really
valuable perspective to have because
we hear about what it’s like to be a minority. But in the rest of my life,
I’m not going to be a minority. As soon as I got out
of public school, as soon as I got
out of high school and attended college
and the further I’ve got in my education,
I’m no longer a minority. Suddenly, it becomes
the majority, which is the majority of how
the demographics are organized in our country. And so I think it was a really
unique and valuable perspective to be a minority for that
percentage of my life. And I’m still coming from
a perspective of privilege growing up. But to know what it feels
like, I think, discussing with other students in my class,
we experienced reverse racism, if you can come up with that. And so people can look at
that as a negative thing. But if anything, I
think that I benefited from the experience of being
in a more diverse setting because I can come from
a perspective of empathy in a way. And then, too, just
the discussions that we got in in our community
and in our high school were really, really interesting. And, as is pointed out, our high
school was really segregated. And so that was a larger
issue within that. But it also brought
up discussion. And we would have
discussion in class of why is this high
school so segregated and do we want it to be. And it was a really
interesting perspective to get into with other students
and just to discuss that. And a lot of time,
as white students, I think we’re a little bit
cautious to give our opinion and afraid what to say. And so it’s really interesting
to hear that a lot of times it was minority students
who approved or wanted this type of segregation. And so, that perspective
was really interesting. But, two, just the
dialogue that was created. It’s always easier to go with
what you’re more used to. And so we got involved
in talking and saying, oh, well, maybe this
isn’t always necessary. So I’m not here to say anything
in one way or the other, because I think it’s a
really complicated issue. But if my experiences can
shed any light on this issue, I hope that helps. [APPLAUSE] Good evening. I, too, appreciate
the opportunity to have been invited to submit
an article for the journal, and also to join this panel
here this evening on a very complicated subject that
we certainly can only stir curiosity at best as
opposed to settling any of the issues that are before us
with this particular case we’re discussing. I was introduced as
being a representative of the African-American
think tank and also as a private sector
educational consultant. But as I sat and listened to
the speakers previous to me, I think I’m going to
deviate and come at the time I have to talk to you from
purely a personal perspective, a perspective that you probably
will rather have an opportunity to be exposed to. And that is being a
product of the Deep South and a product of a totally
segregated education, K through 12 as well as college
in a historical black college, due to racism, discrimination,
inequities, inequalities in this country. When I think in terms of my
schooling experience in Alabama and the fact that I did
not have opportunities to go to any schools other
than the ones afforded to me, not even to have a bus
to go to that school, so busing wasn’t even an issue. When we talk about how that
has been a long term effect, not too long ago we looked
backwards at the 50 year anniversary of Brown
versus Board of Education, trying to take a look at what
kind of progress, if any, had been made as a result of
that Supreme Court ruling. And then we had to couple
it with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Because in most places
in the Deep South, the 1954 decision was totally
ignored, even though it said, with deliberate speed ahead. It took the Civil Rights
Act 10 years later for many places in the South
and other parts of the country to really take a look at and
still not embrace, per se. So when I graduated from
high school in 1963, I had the benefit of
escaping integration. Escaping integration. And I want to tell you what
that segregated education was like for me. It was one of caring, one of
love, one of high expectations. one of high standards,
one of celebrated personhood, if you would. And when I returned home and
I mingled with my classmates at my class reunion– which I’ll be doing in a
couple of months for my 44th– we quite often talk
about what school is like now for
our grandchildren and other neighbors, and
what it was like for us, and what do we see
as the differences. And when we think about our
teachers and our principals and all of our
black professionals that were scattered
hither and yon in the midst of that
integration movement, stripped of all of
that professionalism, kids scattered around because
the burden of integration fell on black kids,
not white kids. And with the absolute
desecration of that personhood. And if we can begin
to look at when the decline in black
educational excellence began to happen in this country,
I would point to the 1954. Because while I was in an all
black educational setting, I could be that total scholar. I didn’t have to
search for self image and try to develop that
sense of self worth or to be made to feel
inferior or not wanted. We could focus on learning
even with meager resources. And you need to keep
in mind that when we talk about the desire
of the black community to want integrated
schools, it wasn’t just to sit in a
classroom next to a white hoping that knowledge was
going to enter by osmosis. It was about trying
to get where there were better resources
available for a different level of learning. That has never been
this issue as we’ve debated integrated education
of America all these decades. And so we come up with
this particular case that’s before us now. And it is so minuscule
when compared to what the real issues are that
we aren’t talking about. When we talk about the
inequities in education, you wouldn’t have
all of this clamoring to go to certain schools– as Bruce indicated–
if all those schools were of high quality. Then the neighborhood
school concept would have some meaning. Why shouldn’t all kids
have the opportunity to go to the school
nearest to them so that those parents can
partake and participate? So that after school
and extracurricular could be a part of their
educational experience also. And I always term integration
of schools in America as a failed adult experiment. It was not about the
children and it is still not about the children. And so if we really want to get
real about what the issues are here, we need to
turn our attention to the promises of an
equitable, high quality education for all children. It has not to do with
where one lives in order for that to be achievable. If everyone had nice
looking, clean facilities, that wouldn’t be
an issue, trying to flee your broken, rundown
facility to go there. High quality teachers,
state of the art curriculum, if that existed everywhere,
none of this would be an issue. And so, when I look
back on my education, it was of the highest
quality in retrospect. When I think in
terms of attending a predominantly black
historical university, Southern University in Baton Rouge– because those were the days
when George Wallace stood at the schoolhouse door
and said segregation now, segregation forever. So it mattered not that I
was a 4.0 valedictorian, those schools were
not available to me as a little black
girl in Alabama. So we fast forward to
2007 and where are we? The unintended consequences
that’s been referenced, it’s deplorable. It is deplorable. So no matter what
the Supreme Court decides about race being
used as a tiebreaker, it still will not have
touched upon the fact that we’re still an
institutionally racist society, that we won’t come
to grips with that. We’re moving more and more to
more diversity than ever before and we haven’t figured out
when that degree of diversity was not as great as it is now
and will be in the future. And so where will that leave us? In the journal, I’ve titled
my article malpractice, “Educational Malpractice.” We talk about
medical malpractice and legal malpractice. I titled mine
“Educational Malpractice” because as a nation no one in
America, for the most part, is really measuring up
to the world’s standards that all of our
students need to have. So as black students and
other students of color, as we talk about
the achievement gap, as we talk about
trying to get up to the standards of
where white kids are, that’s a false standard. And in the African-American
think tank, we have talked about
the fact that we can not shoot for that standard
because that, too, is inefficient and
ineffective for the world competition our children
must be a part of if they’re to be truly educated. So there are a number of
issues, a number of topics, a number of subjects that we
have a very difficult time as a society in discussing. We’ll tiptoe through the
tulips, stepping on egg shells. And it’s easier to throw
all of this time and energy and attention on race as
the tiebreaker as opposed to really coming to
grips with what’s wrong with American
public education. There are reasons why you
see this dip in this red line or the white plight in
Seattle and other parts of this country, and the huge
increase in private education, home school education, online
education, distance learning, you name it. And so public
education as we know it might it become by
the way of the dinosaur and as time goes
on, and that number continues to dip, dip, dip? So what are the
bigger issues that we need to be talking about? And we certainly
will be watching with great interest the
Supreme Court decision because it’s just another
little slight movement, with another tinker
around the edge. And the big issues
remain intact. And so this whole issue of
racial isolation and minority isolation, we minorities
quite often– and I’ll say, blacks quite often–
get together and say, we see nothing wrong
with us being with us. What’s so bad about that? They’re with themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that. But only when we’re
with ourselves are we now isolationist. Think about that. As a professional, as a person
who later went on– although my bachelor’s degree was
in biochemistry and then my doctorate in educational
leadership and change– I’m still finding myself in the
presence of two other blacks and others are
wondering, what are they over there talking about,
in a whole roomful of whites and no one cares. So we have a mind set. And we have some attitudes
and behaviors and practices, policies, and laws. And if we don’t really begin
to unravel that we can’t expect to fix this social
experiment in America and think that the
backs of school aged children is the answer. So there’s a lot to
be said about what’s going on in Seattle, what’s
going on in the nation. When we talk about
these optional ways that schools have
attempted to integrate, we talk about things like
schools such as Garfield with a magnet approach. And schools like Garfield are
jokes, an integrated school but segregated classrooms. So it’s a joke. We aren’t really having the
discussion we need to have. So with the time I’ve
had, I appreciate being able to have offered this
different perspective for you as you consider this
very important topic. Thank you. Good evening, everyone. Good evening. Good evening, everyone. Good evening. Thank you. My name is Andy
Griffin and I happen to work with the Office
of Superintendent of Public Instruction. And I’m going to
try to not talk so much about the Office
of Superintendent of Public Instruction, but
coming at it from just me. Does race matter? I just ask you, how many
of you want to be black. I don’t think many want
to be black, number one. Number two is how come
a three-year-old wants to be black. Research show that
very often when young people are asked to
pick the doll that they love the best and they
would most like to be, they’ll find a white doll
rather than a black doll. A 17-year-old conducted
research just recently. It had young kids, three
years old, pick out the doll that they most to be. And they picked
out a white doll. These are black children. Does race matter? You know. Look around you right here. You’re doggone
right race matters. I don’t care what the
legal people have to say. Does race matter? Certainly, race matters. And you know it
as well I know it. Does gender matter? Yes, it matters. At one time, gender
made a difference. You didn’t find many females in
the schools, in the colleges. Look around you now. Look at the teaching profession. Look at our governor. Look at our Superintendent
of Public Instruction. Does it matter? Certainly it matters. The question is, what are
we going to do about it? That’s the question. The issue is not
so much this issue about was it legal or not. They can play a game all
they want because that’s how they make their money. Capitalism is the
name of the game. We don’t talk about
capitalism too much. We don’t talk about equity. We don’t talk about issues
that we know make a difference and talk about solutions. What are the solutions that
will make a difference? Can all teachers teach all kids? Shouldn’t it be every
teacher, all kids? I take my hat off to the two
principals who are here today. You think it’s easy for them to
stand up and talk about quality schools and quality education? No. He had to quit his
job, find another job, because he talked about
what he believed in. Oh, it’s easy to put out an
intellectual piece of paper and say, does race matter. The name of the game
is can you play it. Anybody who goes in the
field of education and they don’t know how to
teach all kids, they don’t need to be there. Any time we cannot not find
leadership who can understand how they can organize parents,
organize the community to be a part of the system to
help all children learn, irks hurts me through my heart
to think that our schools think that they are the only teachers. What students learn
in the community is just as much as what
they learn in the school. What do you think this informal
get together is teaching us? What are we learning
informally and formally? Is this an academic course? Is this academic? We’re talking about lives. We’re talking about children. This is nothing
we can play with. Nothing we can just think about
a theory and say, oh, this doesn’t mean this or
doesn’t include this. Because we don’t know
what we’re talking about. But people write volumes and
volumes and volumes of material to say that we’re right. It didn’t mean this. This word didn’t mean this. This word didn’t mean this. We’re talking about a
person’s life, person’s lives. It sickens me to see how
we can play a game when we know full well that
we’re talking about equity, as the young man said
a little while ago. Where are the resources? Are we going to put the
resources into the places that would help all children learn to
reach their maximum potential? That’s what we’re about. It isn’t about color. But we make it color
because it’s easy for us. It serves a purpose
because we can keep a hierarchy, some people up
here and some people down here. We have so many, many
models of success. The question is, why
don’t we implement that? Where is the commitment
to excellence? Where is the commitment to
understand the other person’s point of view so that he
or she can be developed to their fullest potential? Where’s that developed besides
the academic [INAUDIBLE]?? Yes, the [INAUDIBLE]
is a feedback system of how well our
system is working. You got me? It’s a feedback system
to help us understand how well the system is working. And for some, it’s working. And for some, it isn’t. The question is how
do we develop a system so that all kids can be
reach high standards? Not just a few, all. We want all children to reach
their maximum potential, to surpass any standard. But the key thing
is to make sure that they reach that standard
and to put into place the system that makes it work. 180 days of school? Come on. Who are we looking for? Are we looking out
for the teachers? Principals? Leaders? Or the students? There’s a thing called
summer time loss. Something happens
over the summer. Some kids keep on growing and
some people make that dip. What happens? What happens when they’re on
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays when there’s nothing happening
and where’s nowhere to go? Oh, problems. Why can’t we fix that? We know it. Solutions that
we’re talking about. We need to have
a system, we need to have a program and
series of programs on solutions that work. So that we can
build each other up to maximize our full potential. Does race matter? Certainly, it does. It certainly does. Because what it does, it
helps us to look at things from a different point of view. It integrates our
thinking and begins to propel us to new heights. It’s up to you. It’s up to you. It’s up to you. Each and every one of you
to come up with strategies to help you grow, to
help our system grown, and to help our kids become
the best they can be. We will just take the
questions from the audience and give you a chance
to raise a question and perhaps have an
exchange with the panelists. So, who’d like to start? Just speak out so that we
can hear you [INAUDIBLE].. We’ve got one panelist who
hasn’t spoken at the event. No, I’m the moderator
[INAUDIBLE].. Question? OK. Go for it. Oh, no. You can go first. OK. I come from a really
predominantly white school. I had to drive half an
hour to get to my school. I’m from a really small town. So I know what’s that
like [INAUDIBLE].. I’m just curious what’s
being done in the schools to inform the
students about what we’re talking about right now. And I know [INAUDIBLE] there’s
a lot of aspects to that. And I don’t really
understand a lot of it. Could there be a
way to incorporate talking about diversity and
racial integration and things like that in curriculum or
class or something like that? I see the perspective
of a diverse school but segregated classrooms. And I figured what
was being actually done to talk to the
students about that issue. There’s a couple ways
to responds to that. And one is around
this larger issue. It’s not enough to create
a diverse student body. You need to also take
advantage of the power of that way of grouping people. So it’s not enough
to put a child in the way of educational
materials without [INAUDIBLE] those. But for in the moment
solutions, and with the notion that we’ve got to
put solutions in place right now, in
the moment, for kids whose lives are being formed. And at my school,
currently students have generated a
multicultural club [INAUDIBLE] to allow them to have
an arena where people can come together and talk
about these same ideas and the same controversies. We have a multicultural
class where the students work with the adults in
the building to create an accredited elective
class where students could come together formally in
an academic environment and do that. And then we have
events at school that celebrate the
differences and the things that we share common. We’ve done a number of
things in this community to involve our native students
and to kind of uncover their presence and
bring them forward. You have to, like I
said, be very conscious. And you have to
work in the moment with the resources you have
to give students and an area where they can have these same
conversations in high school. And I would like to
think that happens K12. But I do it where
I have influence. And so that’s some of what
I’m doing here right now. And I know Bruce at
Franklin High school did many progressive things
to bring student voice into the arena
where students could encounter each other’s ideas. Bruce, you could probably
go on too like that. [INAUDIBLE] I would add further that it’s
necessary to have a culturally infused curriculum
for all students, and not just those who
choose to participate in a club or an extra activity. Because as someone indicated
earlier on the panel, white kids are the most
educationally disadvantaged when we look at the
world in which we live, when they get outside of the
realms of the communities in which they live. That multicultural education is
more so for non-white students than it is for
students of color. And so when we look
at the curriculum, when we look at every
class– it could be history, language arts,
English, you name it– all students need to be
exposed to the cultural beauty and the diversity that
exists within this society today and certainly the world. But we’re talking about moving
from where we are as a school system to where we need to be. And there is a huge gulf
or ocean between that. So when we talk about
clubs and activities, we’re talking about what
I call first order change. Because second
order change means that it’s been so
thoroughly infused that all students are getting
a full dose of every aspect of that cultural diversity. And we are far from
that in the way teachers and other educators are trained. You can’t teach
what you don’t know. You can’t lead
where you won’t go. So we’re a long way from the
ideal of what it needs to be, given the demographic imperative
that we find ourselves a part of in today’s society. I actually have a question
for Thelma Jackson and anybody else who wants to answer. Aside from unequal
funding, what would you say is the biggest obstacle
to achieving a school system in the
state of Washington which provides the
most optimal learning environment for these students? Will, commitment,
and change in policy. And I would add to
that, leadership. The leadership is a key. You could have all
the policy you want, if you don’t have
leadership that’s going to follow that policy. And if you don’t have
a board of directors who are going to monitor and
evaluate the superintendant as well the principals in
carrying out the policy. There needs to be a check piece. And that’s where I think
it needs to be done, that a systems approach to it. And the other part that I
really would like to make sure that we understand, I don’t
want people to skip over, just look at the
school system, I want to look at the
system as a whole. What are we doing
in the communities so that we own those schools? We are part of the
system, not just say that this education
process is solely the responsibility
of the school. And so often we find that
we give that picture. And the principal
can say, come in or stay out, as if to say that
these children are theirs. I’m saying no. I agree with the responsibility. But I do not agree to have them
say that we do not have a role and a responsibility to play
in helping our children learn. And that’s what we have
to hold him accountable, to make sure that the community
is part of the learning process or teaching process. Just one quick response,
low to the ground. My response is that I
have a responsibility to support culturally
competent improvements in instructional practice and
a commitment to every student. The rules have
changed in education. When I came in to work,
it was good enough to get enough of the
kids through graduation. And it was acceptable. For me now, the
mission is every kid needs to receive
culturally competent instructional practice
in the classroom. What does that mean for me? That means I spend a
lot more of my time in the classroom learning
what that is supporting the development of that. And that’s a challenge
to the whole profession. Because that’s new
territory for many, many, many of our teachers. If any of you are prospective
teachers, figure it out. America doesn’t have the
best schools in the world. We’re really like up in
the top but we’re still behind some
countries like Japan. To promote some sort
of multiculturalism, could we try looking
at other countries and how they educate
their children and why they’re excelling
in certain acreas more so than American children? And integrate that into what
we’re doing instead of just being, oh, gosh, we’re America. Only American stuff forever. I know we kind of talked
about multiculturalism here and there. When we look at other countries
and just their culture– but what about their
teaching strategies and how we can get
up to that level? I’ve actually traveled and
been a guest of the Ministry of Education in Japan. And I’ll tell you, there is
no more homogeneous society than the Japanese. And I have lots of comments. We can talk offline about that. What I have learned
from them wherever I go is I’m the chief learner
in charge of my school. And I have to learn
something every encounter. They have
instructional practices that can be embodied in
the notion of lesson study and very careful planning
around concepts in math. And we’ve learned
a lot from that. And I’m always bringing
back what good practices. Culturally competent
instructional practice means you get every
tool and widget you can find that will
make you a teacher that can reach every kid and
to get to [INAUDIBLE] I learned from that. But I wouldn’t model
much of our policy on the Japanese
education system. That’s a real trap. They’re not like us. And I would like to
just comment that, as we try to compare America
with homogeneous countries and cultures like Japan, we have
to keep in mind that America is the most diverse blend
of humankind on the Earth. So we have unique challenges
that other countries and other cultures do not face. We’re no longer this monoculture
or this homogeneous culture. We’ve become this diverse blend. So the challenge is
greater, much, much greater. And we have to be careful of
trying to import practices that work for a homogeneous
culture and think we’re going to bring it and
have the same kind of success. So that’s at least
we’ve moved away from trying to import that. Because it would not work here. Just in response to all this, I
would say that multiculturalism is about personalization. It’s about getting
the story to learn and putting the story to
learn and their skill, their strengths, their
knowledge at the center of the conversation, at
the center of change. So if you do not
involve the learner in the construction
of the curriculum and the direction of your
instructional practice and how you’re going to
assess that individual, then we’re really never going
to bridge any of these gaps. So there is no
schooling system that has actually done that yet. We have pockets. As Andrew talked, we
have successful models but nothing systemic. And that’s because
policy gets in our way. Because the policy designers
are not the policy implementers. So if you really want to
create change in the school, you’ve got to have the
leadership, and the teachers, and the parents
create the policy. You guys talked about
how the busing would be a way to diversify and
that it’s going to be– you’re trying to make
it a race neutral issue by focusing on the socioeconomic
status of those students. But I’m really confused on
how socioeconomic status can be a race neutral atmosphere. Because, statistically,
oftentimes, minorities, even women, are statistically
earning less money on jobs as opposed to the
upper class white male. And so, if that’s not
even a race issue, I don’t understand how
it’s a race-neutral issue. As far as the courts
go, the way they’ve been [INAUDIBLE] that, is that
socioeconomic– and you just admitted it in your
question– women are disadvantaged oftentimes. And what these
programs like what’s being challenged in the
Supreme Court right now, it does nothing to do
with anything other than white, nonwhite. That’s the only thing
they’re looking at. So how do we get
more race neutral is to incorporate other things. Even if, traditionally
speaking– which isn’t necessarily
true in all major cities. A lot of times within in the
boundary of a major city, everybody that lives
within the city proper is poor regardless of the race. So even if seems to be
that the white people are still going to be– it’s still going to divide
along white and nonwhite, it’s not delineated
as clearly when you go to socioeconomic
as it is with skin color. Bottom line. It’s not so obvious. And it’s certainly not so
obvious in a classroom. Let me just add, I agree
with everything you said. And then just to quickly say,
the white, nonwhite issue is perhaps more
of a legal issue. In the Grutter case,
the Michigan case of the law school,
the court looked at how the school tried
to integrate minorities into law school admissions,
into their school. And they specifically
looked at what is commonly referred to as the
critical mass of minorities. And so they do look at it from
a white, nonwhite perspective. Whether or not that’s
accurate or fair is a whole different issue. But that’s the way the legal
system tends to look at it. Just sitting here, [INAUDIBLE],,
it seems like a lot of the other panelists
have discussed about how the independent court case
really won’t have much– or not necessarily won’t
have much of an impact, but really the
heart of the matter is that it fails to address de
facto institutionalized racism and educational equality. So I’m just curious. Regardless of how the
court [INAUDIBLE] goes, what do you think
of the total effect this wil have on
the greater issue of institutionalized racism? And I agree. It certainly doesn’t address
the heart of the problem. I sat here nodding in agreement
as Thelma spoke and others. Because it doesn’t address
the real problem at all, as far as the inequality
in education in schools within the same district. That’s absurd. I mean, they’re all being
funded from the same source. Why is there so much inequity
in two different schools that have access to the same funds? Ultimately, this decision, the
legal decision, unfortunately what makes you feel good isn’t
necessarily constitutional. And that’s not what’s
in front of the Court. What’s in front of the Court is
it lawful to discriminate based on skin color, period. That’s the question. And how you’re doing it,
is that constitutional? Two results. One, if they say yes
it’s constitutional, then you will continue to
see problems like this. And it gives carte blanche
to school districts to continue doing what
they’re doing instead of addressing the real problem. If they say no it’s
unconstitutional, they have to go back
and rethink this. And they might possibly– I doubt it until some
other things change– but they might possibly start
coming up with some better solutions other than
just sorting people based on the color of your skin. And if they say this program
in Seattle is unconstitutional, you can’t do this, that
there’s more than 1,000 other documented school
districts in this country doing something almost
identical to that. So those get wiped
out the very next day. They have to go away. They can’t do that anymore. They cannot select based
on skin color anymore. They’re going to have to
rethink of how they’re going to try to diversify
the educational experience and how they’re going to
try to equalize schools within their districts. Let me just quickly add. To your question, I don’t know
what the impact is going to be. Honestly, once the
Supreme Court decides, it’s not up to the lawyers to
then implement the [INAUDIBLE].. It’s up to the educators. What I can tell you is that
in the Swan case back in 1962, there was a decision that came
out from the Supreme Court where the issue it had
was a busing issue. The Supreme Court,
in one paragraph, stated in a majority
decision stated that busing is a method
to try and break down racial segregation. As a result of that one
paragraph, immediately the next day,
nationwide school boards started looking at
that language, saying, OK, we know what it means now. Let’s get a bus system
in place to start breaking down this racial
isolation and segregation. I don’t know what
the impacts going to be with the Court’s
decision, but I can tell you it will have a huge impact. And put black kids on those
buses to white neighborhoods. Not white kids on the buses. In the early days of
busing, that’s how it was. Thank you. So thank you guys
all for being here. My question is regarding the
research that you brought up and also something somebody
said about funding [INAUDIBLE].. It’s based on the
housing [INAUDIBLE].. So my question [INAUDIBLE],,
can this whole population be mobilized, like
students, parents, alumni, to change that? Like the housing
practices be [INAUDIBLE] for the schools [INAUDIBLE]? I can offer some
response to that. Could you repeat the
question for everybody? She was talking about the
inequities in tax collection based on property value
for school support. And in this state, a large
percentage of our funding comes from the taxation system. Only 8% in Washington comes
from the federal government. And yet they’re a major player. That 8% is like a matter of
life and death for most of us. The answer is, there’s
lots of flexibility around that and discussion now
about the equity of taxation. And the provosts are calling
for national funding in schools since these are national issues. Because of the inequity of
property taxation and what it does to urban centers
in terms of resources. It’s a huge issue in
Seattle, in this state. We have neighborhoods–
and the whole picture isn’t around taxation either. I have to tell you, the
Ballard School Foundation, my first year, raised
$250,000 for me as a principal to write a check
against for whatever we needed. So we needed a new sound system
in the gym and I bought one. The school just a few miles away
had systems that didn’t work and no hope of ever
getting a change there. That’s off the record. We found out in Bellevue
that a football coach is being paid $55,000 stipend,
raised by the booster club there, to compensate
him for his time, even though he was being paid
the same as every other coach. So Washington is
replete with inequities in terms of how
schools are funded and how students are funded
within school systems. That’s a whole other
forum waiting to happen. But if I could add to
that funding issue. In the state of
Washington, going back to the decision in the
[INAUDIBLE] definition, we have a state
apportioning formula that x number of dollars come
to the districts for each and every student
enrolled in our schools. When we talk about levees
and bonds and property taxes and the extraneous kinds
of funds that are raised, there still is a basic amount. And even when that basic
amount comes to the districts, we still see a lot of inequity. We look at the data that talks
about the disproportionality of African-American and Latino
kids in special education. Well, special education
students are funded 190%, 190% of other students. So that should be leveling
that playing field some. We get Title I and LAP coming
from the federal government based upon socioeconomics. And so, when it
comes in, it just gets sucked into the
district as opposed to being allocated to
those students for which it was meant. So aside from the other kinds
of funding kind of formulas, we’re still having inequities. If all of that were
removed and we just looked at the basic pool
that’s there for all kids, there’s still some
inequitable things going on. Just the idea of
where you’re going to place new teachers,
who is teaching in what particular
schools, where do we put our new
principals, where do we begin to say, how do we
make sure that the kids who need it the most get the desk. Now you’ll hear a big outcry
that because of the fact, they say, well,
what do you mean. Why should they get
those best teachers? Shouldn’t we have the
best in our schools? That becomes a real problem. But we know full well that there
are some teachers who will not go where certain students
are, particularly those students who have a
history of having difficulty learning. One last question in
the interest of time. And then I invite
you all to meet with our wonderful panelists. Upstairs in the Center
for Educational Pluralism, we have dessert. I have a question as a graduate
of Seattle public school and a graduate of
Franklin High School. I don’t know much about the
African-American Academy. But I’ve heard a lot
about disproportionality and seen it in Seattle
public schools. And this question is for
anybody who knows something about Seattle school district. Why does nobody uphold the
African-American Academy, especially the school
district, as a place where students of color can
succeed and do succeed? I don’t how it’s doing in
the past couple of years. But since I was
paying attention, the school does very well
and as far as I know, it’s a public school. But it’s never held up as
place where students of color can succeed. And I don’t why we
don’t talk about that. And I don’t know if you
have any thoughts on that. And I can quickly resond. Partly because it’s
a small program, it’s a fairly new program in
terms of its track record. There’s been quite a bit
of leadership change. They haven’t told their story
as widely as they should. So I think it’s just newness
is a big part of that. Also, I think the Seattle public
schools, through this case, backed off on a lot of its
commitments to, in my view, being courageous around its
programs and what’s going on. And it’s a district that’s been
in disarray for the past five or six years, as you’ve
probably observed. So they’re not telling
their story very well. And their story in
the press is typically about the national disaster
controversy and the school board, which is subsumed the
success stories that we see. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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